Young men and women have travelled from across the region for four days of action on the court in OFC’s inaugural Youth Futsal Tournament, kicking off at Bruce Pulman Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday morning.
The women’s competition will see several familiar faces, with multi-talented players from Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand making their second or third appearances at an OFC event this year after representing their nations at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship and OFC U-19 Women’s Championship.
The three contending nations will also be joined by the Auckland Football Federation U-18 girl’s futsal team, who were invited by OFC to participate in the women’s competition and play the three national teams on their bye rounds.
The men’s competition will showcase futsal prodigies from Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, New Caledonia and American Samoa who have been selected to represent their nations after impressive performances in domestic youth tournaments or senior national leagues.
All seven nations will be making their debut in regional age-group futsal and will be eager to display the development and strength of their domestic game.
The winners of the men’s and women’s tournaments – with the exception of New Caledonia who are not an Olympic nation – will qualify for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
The two qualifying teams cannot be from the same Member Association so where a country has entered both the men’s and women’s events, the Member Association must nominate their preferred qualification team.
OFC Youth Futsal tournament – Women
Bruce Pulman Arena
Auckland, New Zealand
Coach Quote: “Our goal is to win the competition and to learn new things while also enjoying the experience. I have a really good feeling about this competition. I believe we can achieve an unexpected result.”
Tonga: 1. Kalolaine TOPUI (GK), 2. Ofa FIFI, 3. Mele AKOLO, 4. Mele KAFA, 5. Seini LUTU, 6. Ana POLOVILI, 7. Siunipa TALASINGA, 8. Raina SCHAUMKEL, 9. Meleseini TUFUI, 10. Lositika FEKE.
Coach: Manu TUALAU (TGA)
Coach Quote: “New Zealand has had some strong results in the women’s space in our region and we hope to continue that on the court from both a performance and results standpoint. Our goal is to win the competition but – just as importantly – in a way that will do our country proud.”
New Zealand: 1. Rylee GODBOLD (GK), 2. Abigail MURPHY, 3. Jenna DODD, 4. Emily GILLION, 5. Grace WISNEWSKI, 6. Hannah REDDY, 7. Lily FISHER, 8. Tilly JAMES, 9. Macey FRASER, 10. Ella O’CONNELL-BIDDLECOMBE.
Coach: Ronan NAIKER (RSA)
Coach Quote: “Participate in a qualifier for the Youth Olympic is a great opportunity for all our young players and staff. This tournament will be provide great exposure for our girls and hopefully promote futsal back in Samoa. The main goal will be to qualify and if we can do it with some very good performances even better.”
Samoa: 1. Meripa SEUMANUTAFA (GK), 2. Sina SATARAKA, 3. Hunter MALAKI, 4. Michayla CHAMBERLAIN, 5. Veteronnica TAFITO, 6. Mariecamilla AH KI, 7. Alisa TUATAGALOA, 8. Vineta FALEAANA, 9. Madeleen AH KI, 18. Repeka ASOFA.
Coach: Valerio RACCUGLIA (ITA)
Coach Quote: “We are feeling very excited for the competition. It’s an amazing opportunity for the girls and we are going to utilise it the best we can and really focus on playing our brand of futsal. We don’t know much about Samoa and Tonga but we are looking forward to playing our futsal and hopefully getting some good results too.”
AFF Futsal: 1. Holly WALSH (GK), 2. Aimee FAIRBAIRN, 3. Grace COX, 4. Petra BUYCK, 5. Michaela BUCKLEY, 6. Jayden WATTS, 7. Georgia LEACH, 8. Kathryn GOW, 9. Ruby RIMMER, 10. Ella RUSS.
Coach: Maxine COOPER (NZL)
OFC Youth Futsal tournament – Men
Bruce Pulman Arena
Auckland, New Zealand
Coach Quote: “We are in a really good position leading into this tournament. In a way, New Zealand has been preparing for this for a long time with the huge focus they have had on youth futsal over the past few years. We know that playing at an international level compared to a national level is a big step up and this is a challenge we are all excited about.”
New Zealand: 1. Patrick STEELE (GK), 2. Arzan TODYWALLA, 3. Sam WRIGHT, 4. Aidan ROBSON, 5. Michael PLIM, 6. Adam PAULSEN, 7. Oban HAWKINS, 8. Logan WISNEWSKI, 9. Ethan MARTIN, 12. Chris PREECE.
Coach: Marvin EAKINS (PHI)
Coach Quote: “This is a very new experience for us and we did not have much time together but our goals are to improve every game, play to our utmost best and enjoy the tournament.”
Tonga: 1. Tevita VAILEA (GK), 2. Pita Huni, 3. Tuia FALEPAPALANGI, 4. Tevita KAU, 5. Alifeleti KAIFOTO, 6. Tevita SILI, 7. Sione VA’ENUKU, 8. Ofa KITE, 9. Opesi TU’IFANGALOKA, 10. Kipione FETYIAKI.
Coach: Soane MAILANGI (TGA)
Coach Quote: “This is the first ever youth competition and we have been doing a lot of youth futsal programmes so it is good to have a competition for them. We are really looking forward to it. Our objective to see how our youth team can compete in the competition and keep developing the team for future youth and senior competitions.”
Vanuatu: 1. Nickson TAVUI (GK), 2. Kerol ALEX, 3. Cafu KALSONG, 4. Moise NALE, 5. Alex WILKINS, 6. Isack NUMAHAN, 7. Rhydley NAPAU, 8. Jayson BULE, 9. Samos NALE, 10. Chima CHILLIA.
Coach: Richard LEHI (VAN)
Coach Quote: “I’m feeling optimistic and excited. This is a fantastic experience for my young players and for my staff. We haven’t had as much time to work as I would like but I want use this tournament as a starting point to develop this group for the future.”
New Caledonia: 1. Raumuald DALMAS (GK), 2. Georges GUILLOU (GK), 3. Yoan BEARUNE, 4. Benjamin BOURGEAIS, 5. Remi BOUSSEMART, 6. Christophe KAUSUO, 7. Enrick KOMORNICKI, 8. Jacques WATRONE, 9. Melric LEON, 10. Jerome PAIMEN.
Coach: Vincent VASAPOLLI (NCL)
Coach Quote: “I am excited because it is the first time that American Samoa has ever participated in a futsal tournament but at the same time I am feeling a bit of pressure because we will be playing against the likes of Solomon Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Our goal is to expose our young players and use this tournament as a stepping stone into the international level.”
American Samoa: 1. Manu DANIELSON (GK), 2. Vaha TUA, 3. Gabriel TAUMUA, 4. Walter PATI, 5. Milo TIATIA, 6. Austin KALEOPA, 7. Roy LEDOUX, 8. Junior CHOI, 9. Mahonri LOTULELEI, 10. Darryl ULUFALE (GK).
Coach: Tunoa LUI (SAM)
Coach Quote: “I’m feeling a mixture of nervousness and confidence especially because this is my first assignment as a national coach which is totally different from being a Kurukuru player. As coach, my goal is to try develop this youth team even higher than what our national futsal team has accomplished.”
Solomon Islands: 1. Charlie ATA (GK), 3. Calvin DO’ORO, 4. Ronado CROMWELL, 5. Junior MANA, 6. Travis SAU, 7. Raphael LE’AI, 8. Junior USUA, 9. Franster RUKUMANA, 10. William TAHARIU, 12. Lodrik AFIA.
Coach: Stanley PUAIRANA (SOL)
Coach Quote: “I am feeling excited and confident in the team. I know this will be the first futsal competition for them but I am confident with the skill and fitness level of the players. With the right motivation and encouragement, I know they will be able to compete at this level.
Samoa: 1. Eti FATU (GK), 2. Stanely MAMEA, 3. Harlen RUSSELL, 4. Jeffery LEIATAUA, 5. Lotial MANO, 6. Daniele SCARONI, 7. Falaniko NANUMEA, 8. Jarvis FILIMALAE, 9. Darcy KNIGHT, 18. Osa SAVELIO.
Coach: Horst Petana (SAM)
View the match schedule for the men’s and women’s competitions here